DREAMs? Or nightmares?
By Melanie Fox on 03/12/2012 @ 05:07 PM
Imagine it. It's your senior year in high school. You and your three best friends in the whole world are in the midst of planning for your futures. One of the most exciting times of your life, right? For Clara and Elissa, definitely. But for Marisela and Yadira, not so much.
At the end of February, FCNL hosted Helen Thorpe, a particularly wonderful advocate for undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the U.S. by their parents, more colloquially known as "DREAMers." Helen Thorpe came to FCNL and spoke about her poignant book Just Like Us.
About the book...
Just Like Us is a story four young women from Mexico who have lived most of their lives in the United States and attend the same high school. Two of them have legal documentation and two do not. The book starts on the night of their senior prom in Denver, CO.
Each is bright, ambitious, and an excellent student. Their leader, Marisela, dazzles teachers during the day, and spends her evenings checking groceries to help pay the bills. She dreams of college and a professional career - but she doesn't have a green card or a Social Security number, because her parents brought her across the border illegally.
Marisela's best friend, Yadira, shares her predicament. But they spend all of their time with two girls who are legal - Elissa, who was born in the United States, and Clara, who has a green card. Each of the girls views the others as her equals, yet the world does not treat them that way. Their situation becomes increasingly painful and complex as the four young women approach adulthood, and Marisela and Yadira watch their two legal friends gain opportunities that are not available to them. All four hold American aspirations, but only Clara and Elissa have the documents necessary to realize those hopes. Their friendships start to divide along lines of immigration status.
Click here to keep reading and learn more about the book.
FCNL worked with our colleagues in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition in 2010 to support the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented people who arrived in the U.S. at a young age either through post-secondary education or through military service. DREAM stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The DREAM Act passed the House in December 2010 but never received enough votes to pass in the Senate.
Where is the DREAM Act currently?
Currently, the DREAM Act in the House (H.R.1842) is sponsored by Representative Howard Berman (CA) and has 77 co-sponsors. In the Senate (S.952), Senator Richard Durbin (IL) is the sponsor along with 34 co-sponsors.